Offering rides for a fee isn’t legal in B.C. unless specific requirements are met including having the proper license and insurance. (BeyondDC/Flickr)

Designated drivers who charge for rides in B.C. may be breaking the law

A specific licence, proper insurance among the requirements for ‘side-hustle’ rides

Designated drivers who charge for rides in B.C. may be violating the law and breaching their insurance.

While having a designated driver is recommended for nights like New Year’s Eve, it’s illegal for them to ask for payment for rides in B.C. without meeting specific requirements, noted Christine Kirby, road safety coordinator for the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC).

People need to be careful when it comes to the specifics of designated driving, Kirby said. Offering a ride to friends or family for free or for the price of gas is fine, but when a dollar amount is put on the ride itself, it becomes like a taxi or business, she explained.

READ ALSO: Nearly 30 impaired drivers pulled over during the holiday season: West Shore RCMP

Bowen Osoko, a spokesperson for VicPD, noted that offering rides for a fee without the proper licensing isn’t legal at any time of year in B.C. – it’s a violation under the Motor Vehicle Act. To operate like a taxi, drivers need to follow specific requirements; primarily, they need a Class 4 commercial license and, depending on their municipality’s bylaws, they may need a taxi license or business license, he said.

Osoko pointed out that while it may seem hard to catch people operating a designated driver “side-hustle,” they’re often reported by legitimate taxi drivers or caught during a traffic stop. He added that in the event of an accident, ICBC may refuse to pay for the damage.

Kirby also pointed out that even offering rides for free can be a risk when it comes to insurance. The driver would need higher liability insurance and if they were caught without it, they may be found in breach of their insurance.

General insurance isn’t made for “hauling people” and drivers can’t be “using their insurance for what it’s not made for,” Kirby said.

READ ALSO: Metchosin woman offers free rides home for New Year’s Eve party-goers

She recommends that folks who’d like to offer their services as a designated driver volunteer for an existing designated driver company such as Operation Red Nose.

Those companies have the proper insurance that acts as blanket coverage for all their drivers, Kirby explained.

She noted that there is still time for interested drivers to join a team in time for New Year’s Eve. The drivers will simply need to stop by an ICBC office first to pick up a driver’s abstract so the company can assess the driver’s history – like a criminal record check.

Osoko emphasized out that police always encourage people to find a safe ride home after a night of drinking and all the traditional options – buses, taxis, appointing a sober driver – are recommended. He suggests avoiding the side-business ride options as it comes with unnecessary risks and officers will already be out trying to keep everyone safe while they ring in the new year.

READ ALSO: Head of ICBC writes public apology to West Shore community


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kitimat LNG Canada worker tests positive for COVID-19

The company announced the positive case to its workers on March 28

Bachrach to donate salary hike to community organizations

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP among growing list of MPs giving raise away amid economic crisis

COVID-19: Haida Gwaii School District busy with plans to keep kids learning

District educational staff will take survey responses from parents, guardians into account

‘Focus on prevention’: Haida Nation webinar emphasizes avoidance of a COVID-19 outbreak

Dr. Caroline Walker says prevention is key to avoid “worst-case scenario” of an outbreak on-island

Want to volunteer during COVID-19? Here’s how to apply to the Queen Charlotte EOC

Young, healthy people can submit an online application to the Emergency Operations Centre

Trudeau rejects mandatory stay-at-home order for now; COVID deaths up

The virus has now infected more than 10,000 Canadians and cost 130 their lives

Cowichan couple won’t self-isolate after returning from overseas

New law requires 14 days of self-isolation when returning to Canada

Family uses social media to help truckers find places to eat during pandemic

Restaurants Serving Drivers in Western Canada seeks to provide a list of places open for drivers

Celebrate Easter in a ‘safe way,’ Dr. Henry urges as B.C records 6 new COVID-19 deaths

Top doctor urges British Columbians to halt non-essential travel within the province

B.C. health officer says homemade masks may prevent spread of COVID-19 to others

Practising physical distancing, frequent hand washing and resisting touching your face are proven methods

B.C.’s senior home staff measures show results in COVID-19 battle

Dr. Bonnie Henry’s order restricts care aides to one facility

‘A matter of human decency’: Truckers’ union calls on gas stations, rest stops to fully re-open

Teamsters Canada wants feds, provinces to put pressure on facilities to re-open for transport workers

B.C. unveils $3.5M COVID-19 emergency fund for post-secondary students

Money will help students cover living expenses, food, travel, portable computers

Most Read